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Tools and $$$ (long yak)


#1

As far as tooling and $$$$$ go, it is either time or money.
Which does one have the most of? When I first started taking
jewelry making seriously as a way to make a living, I realized
that It would take tools. It is very difficult to work metal
without some kind of tool or process, which even though may be
hand manipulated does not actually use the hand against the
material, say as compared to potters who work their material
directly with their fingers. I decided to purchase tools that
would be useful for making tools. Such machines as a small engine
lathe, shaper, mill drill, band saws, in essence a small machine
shop.

Now I am not a machinist by any stretch of the imagination.
However, over the years my “investment” is starting to pay off as
I have been able to build much of my own equipment and tools. If
I were a hobbyist as some on the list are, and I wanted to make
jewelry and save money on tooling. I would investigate some of
the books in Lindsay’s Publication. There are many books on tool
making including a series of books by a fellow named Dave Gingery
from Missouri about how to build your own machine shop from
scrap. He starts out showing how to build a charcoal foundry
which casts the parts for a metal lathe that starts to machine
itself. With the lathe built, one goes on to build a metal shaper
which makes more parts for the lathe and on and on until one has
a complete machine shop. Something like your own industrial
revolution in your basement or garage. With such machines, one
could make much of the necessary equipment and tools for jewelry
making much as I have with commercially available equipment. (I
did not have time to make my own machine tools, but I learned
alot from studying the Gingery series. Sort of a “gee whiz” kind
of thing.)

This is not to say that beautiful jewelry cannot be made with
just the basics, It’s just that I have always been surprised at
how much unusual tooling was available to jewelers all over the
world that I thought could only be done through more modern
toolrooms.

Learning the basic skills to make tools is a satisfying and
rewarding experience. Unfortunately, it still costs $$$$$$$.

Kenneth Gastineau
@Kenneth_Gastineau1